Invited Speakers

Who is the Father of Electrical Engineering

This outstanding lecture will examine the beginnings and the most important contributions of James Clarke Maxwell and how they change our understanding of the world and by which our current technological society depends on. This lecture will be delivered by Prof. Tapan K. Sarkar winner of the IEEE 2020 Electromagnetics Award.


Tapan K. Sarkar, an internationally renowned professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University, has been awarded the 2020 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Electromagnetics Field Award. The award—reserved for top researchers in the field globally—recognizes Sarkar’s outstanding contributions to the efficient and accurate solution of computational electromagnetic problems in the frequency and time domain, and research in adaptive antennas.

Sarkar is a highly accomplished IEEE Fellow and has been a faculty member in the college since 1985. His research interests focus on numerical solutions of operator equations arising in electromagnetics and signal processing with application to system design. His other research has included analysis and design of electromagnetic radiation from computers and other devices; radio and television towers; satellite and cable broadcasting systems; design of mobile adaptive communication systems, including antennas analysis; and intelligent signal processing.

Sarkar has authored or coauthored more than 400 journal articles, 300 conference papers, and multiple chapters and books. His research has been cited more than 23,000 times, establishing an outstanding h-index of 71. Sarkar also served as associate editor for many of IEEE’s publications, including IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility and IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation. He served as president of IEEE’s Antennas and Propagation Society in 2014, and is a distinguished lecturer of the society.

Sarkar earned a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, a master’s degree from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, and master’s and doctoral degrees from Syracuse University. He also holds honorary degrees from Universite Blaise-Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand; Politechnic University of Madrid and Aalto University. (Press release from

Stand on the Antennas & Propagation Standards

The IEEE Antennas and Propagation Standards Committee (APS/SC), sponsored by IEEE AP-S, develops and maintains standards that are within the fields of antennas and propagation. Many researchers within the AP-S community are not familiar with standards. These documents are important for both academia and industry. For example, misuse of technical terms is still frequently observed, especially in conference papers and presentations. The most common misuse is probably the term “return loss” often taken to be the synonym of “reflection coefficient”. Engineers and researchers also perform antenna measurements but many are not aware about the existence of available antenna measurement recommendations. The workshop will address standards on terms and definitions, and antenna measurements.

Introduction to AP-S Standards.
Std. 145: IEEE Standard for Definitions of Terms for Antennas.
Std. 211: IEEE Standard Definitions of Terms for Radio Waves Propagation.
Std. 149: IEEE Standard Test Procedures for Antennas.
Std. 1720: IEEE Recommended Practice for Near-Field Antenna Measurements.


Vikass Monebhurrun received the PhD degree in electronics in 1994 and the Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches (HDR) in physics in 2010 from Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI) and Université Paris-Sud (Paris XI), respectively. He was engaged in research on electromagnetic non-destructive testing for nuclear power and aeronautical applications until 1998, following which he joined the Department of Electromagnetics at Supélec (CentraleSupélec since 2015). His research interests encompass time domain numerical modeling as well as radio frequency measurements. He actively participated in French National Research Programs on electromagnetic dosimetry since 1998, namely COMOBIO (1999-2002 on 2G system), ADONIS (2003-2005 on 3G system) and MULTIPASS (2007-2010 on 4G system). His research contributed to international standardization committees of CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
He is author and co-author of more than hundred peer-reviewed international conference and journal papers. He also holds three international patents on antennas for mobile communications. He is an active contributor to the international standardization committees of IEC 62209, IEC 62232, IEC/IEEE 62704 and IEEE 1528. He was a member of the European COST Action BM 1309.
Dr. Monebhurrun serves as member of the Editorial Board of the IEEE COMPUMAG and IEEE CEFC conferences, and IEEE Transactions on Magnetics special issues since 1998. He is the founder of the IEEE Radio and Antenna Days of the Indian Ocean (RADIO) international conference and he served as General Chair for all seven editions since 2012. In 2013, he initiated the Radio Society (Mauritius) for which he serves as President. He is currently the Chair of the international committees of IEC/IEEE 62704-3 and IEEE Antennas and Propagation Standards. He is leading the development of a novel standard on computational electromagnetics applied to modeling and simulation of antennas (P2816). He further serves as member within several committees of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S). Since 2019, he is AdCom member of the IEEE Sensors Council and Corresponding Member of the Conference Coordination and Standards Coordination Subcommittees of IEEE Region 8. He serves as Associate-Editor for the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Transactions and AP-S Magazine, and Editor of the IoP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering.
He was the recipient of the Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale (URSI) Young Scientist Award in 1996. Following the publication of the dual/logo IEC/IEEE 62704-3 international standard on computational dosimetry in 2017, he received the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) International Working Group Chair Award. As Chair of IEEE SIGHT Indian Ocean, he was presented the Ulrich L. Rohde Humanitarian Technical Field Project Award in 2018 for the Agriculture, Climate and Technology in Indian Ocean Network (ACTION) project. He received the IEC 1906 Award in 2018 and the IEEE-SA International Award in 2019.

Non-medical treatment options for Alzheimer's

Memory and cognitive declines are associated with normal brain aging but are also
precursors to dementia, in particular, Alzheimer’s disease. While currently there is no cure or "vaccine" against dementia, based on the brain’s plasticity, there are hopes to delay the onset or to slow the progression of the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a multi-facet condition. Thus, the key to its management is in multidisciplinary approaches. The clinical diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders, in general, is based on an extensive evaluation of cognition and behavioral performance along with functional status, which provides a variable grade of accuracy especially at early stages of the disease. In this talk, the speaker will review diagnostic objective methods that can assist Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In particular, the application and research outcomes of virtual reality egocentric spatial assessment and its potential for differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s versus other types of dementia.


Zahra Moussavi received her B.Sc. from Sharif University of Technology, Iran, M.Sc. from the University of Calgary, and Ph.D. from University of Manitoba, Canada in 1997, all in Electrical Engineering. She then joined the respiratory research group of the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital and worked as a research associate for 1.5 years. In 1999, she did her postdoctoral fellowship at the Biomedical Engineering Department of Johns Hopkins University. Following that, she joined the University of Manitoba, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a faculty member, where she is currently a full professor, a Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering and also the director of Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program. She is a member of Manitoba Heart and Stroke Advisory board and a research affiliate at Riverview Health Centre, as well as Aging Centre at University of Manitoba. She is a recipient of “Fiends of Riverview” honor from Riverview Health Center (2016), Canadian Academy of Engineering Fellowship (2015), IEEE-EMBS distinguished Lecturer title (2013-2014) and “Women of Distinction Award” in Science and Technology (2014) from the YWMCA and Manitoba Government as well as “Canada’s Most Powerful Women (Top 100) in Trailblazers and Trendsetters category (2014)”. With over 215 peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals and conferences, her current research includes biological signal processing, diagnostic pattern recognition and medical devices instrumentation with applications on sleep apnea, and Alzheimer disease. Due to her work on acoustic diagnostic technologies for sleep apnea as well as her work on Alzheimer’s early detection and treatment, she has been recognized internationally and invited to speak frequently. She has given 78 invited talks/seminars (30 outside of Canada) including 2 Tedx Talk and 7 keynote speaker seminars at international conferences. She has supervised many graduate students; currently she has a team of 15 graduate students, one postdoctoral fellow, and several undergraduate students.

While in academia she is more recognized for her acoustic respiratory signal processing, in public she is more recognize for her work on Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and treatment that she has a personal passion for. Aside from academic research work, she has created a series of brain exercises for aging population that are available on her website free of charge. She has also developed and offered an 8-week memory program for individuals 70+ y at Riverview Health Center.

Neurological Therapeutic Medical Robot, PARO, for Non-Pharmacological Therapy and its Clinical Evidence

Robot therapy, which uses robots as a substitution for animals in “animal therapy,” is a new robot application in the fields of welfare and medical services. The baby seal robot “PARO” began development for robot therapy in 1993. More and more clinical trials including randomized controlled trials (RCT) have revealed that robot therapy has various kinds of effects on patients. The largest and the most rigorous RCT of PARO so far was conducted with 415 elderly with dementia (N=415), and the results showed that while excluding facilitation by therapists, PARO improved engagement and agitation significantly comparing with usual care.
PARO was commercialized in Japan in 2005, and in Europe and the U.S. in 2009, and about 5,000 PAROs have been used in hospitals, care facilities and at homes in more than 30 countries. Especially, 80% of municipalities of Denmark have already adopted PARO in public dementia care. In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certified PARO as a “neurological therapeutic medical device” in biofeedback devices (class II).
PARO can be used in various kinds of therapy such as palliative and hospice care for cancer patients, and training of social skill of children and adolescences with developmental problems. There is a lot of evidence of therapeutic effects of PARO on elderly with dementia because explicit differences can be easily observed before and after interacting with PARO. The therapeutic effects on the elderly with dementia interacting with PARO include improvement of anxiety, depression, pain, loneliness, wandering, agitation, aggression, sleep and quality of life, reduction of stress and blood pressure, and recovery from speech disorders. With these effects and without side effects, PARO can reduce the usage of psychotropic medications as non-pharmacological therapy. Finally, PARO can also reduce the burden of care and nursing, and the social cost of medical and welfare services.


Takanori Shibata has been Chief Senior Research Science at AIST since 2013. His research interests include human-robot interaction, robot therapy, mental health for astronauts in long-term mission (e.g. to Mars), and humanitarian de-mining. He was certified as the inventor of a seal robot named PARO, the World’s Most Therapeutic Robot, by Guinness World Records in 2002. He has received many awards including the Robot of the Year by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan in 2006, The Outstanding Young Person (TOYP) of the World by Junior Chamber International (JCI) in 2004, and the Japanese Prime Minister’s Award in 2003. In 2015, PARO was awarded the “Patient Trophy” as innovation of non-pharmacological therapy for dementia by the Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris, France, that is one of the largest medical group in the World. In 2017, PARO was awarded the “Best of the Best” by the Argentum in the U.S. Was born in 1967 and received B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Electronic and Mechanical Engineering from Nagoya University in 1989, 1991 and 1992, respectively. He was a research scientist at AIST from 1993 to 1998. Concurrently, he was a visiting research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT from 1995 to 1998, and a visiting research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Zurich in 1996. At the AIST, Dr. Shibata was a senior research scientist from 1998 to 2013. Concurrently, he was the Deputy Director for Information and Communication Technology Policy, Bureau of Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan in 2009 and 2010.

Making Haptics and its Design Accessible

Today’s advances in tactile sensing and wearable, Internet-of-things and context-aware computing are spurring new ideas about how to configure touch-centered interactions in terms of roles and utility, which in turn expose new technical and social design questions. But while haptic actuation, sensing and control are improving, incorporating them into a real-world design process is challenging and poses a major obstacle to adoption into everyday technology. Some classes of haptic devices, e.g., grounded force feedback, remain expensive and limited in range. I’ll describe some recent highlights of an ongoing effort to understand how to support haptic designers and end-users. These include a wealth of online experimental design tools, and do-it-yourself open sourced hardware and accessible means of creating, for example, expressive physical robot motions and evolve physically sensed expressive tactile languages. Elsewhere, we are establishing the value of haptic force feedback in embodied learning environments, to help kids understand physics and math concepts. This has inspired the invention of a low- cost, handheld and large motion force feedback device that can be used in online environments or collaborative scenarios, and could be suitable for K-12 school contexts; this is ongoing research with innovative education and technological elements. All our work is available online, where possible as web tools, and we plan to push our research into a broader open haptics effort.


Karon MacLean is Professor in Computer Science at UBC, with degrees in Biology and Mechanical Engineering (BSc, Stanford; M.Sc. / Ph.D, MIT) and and time spent as a professional robotics engineer (Center for Engineering Design, University of Utah) and haptics / interaction researcher (Interval Research, Palo Alto). At UBC since 2000, MacLean's research specializes in haptic (touch) interaction: cognitive, sensory and affective design for people interacting with the computation we touch, emote and move with and learn from, from robots to touchscreens and the situated environment. MacLean leads UBC’s Designing for People interdisciplinary research cluster and CREATE graduate training program (20 researchers spanning 8 departments and 4 faculties ¬, and is Special Advisor, Innovation and Knowledge Mobilization to UBC’s Faculty of Science.

IEEE ETCM 2019 will share keynote speakers with IEEE LA CCI 2019. More information available at